Neighborhood: Highway 29 through Napa Valley
When to go: During the week, if you can afford time off work — the route is popular with weekend travelers, and traffic up and down Highway 101 can be fierce.
The vibe: Laid-back with just the right amount of rustic.
Best-kept secret: The amazing pool at Carneros Inn is open to day visitors Monday to Friday during off-peak hours. Just call ahead.
Buy this: A box of colorful, artisanal truffles by Kollar Chocolates.
If you’re driving through Wine Country from San Francisco, start your day with a worthy detour. Hiding on the property of (1) Carneros Inn, a luxurious resort tucked away off Highway 29, is the cute Boon Fly Cafe (4048 Sonoma Hwy.). Eggs Benedict with jalapeño hollandaise is the ultimate kickstarter for a packed day, and the atmosphere screams staycation.
Then, it’s off to downtown Napa. Pick out a perfect read (you’ll want it for your final destination) at small and locally owned (2) Napa Bookmine (964 Pearl St.). The shop is packed with rare secondhand books and magazines, and friendly owner Naomi is always happy to help.
Equipped with your new page-turner, head to (3) Angele Bar and Restaurant (540 Main St.) for a refreshing midday Lemon Sage Press cocktail with a vibrant Mediterranean backdrop (take a picture by the turquoise blinds and let the world think you’re in Portugal).
Yountville, home of the famed French Laundry restaurant, is next. Start by visiting the historic (4) V Markeplace (6525 Washington St.). Watch chocolate being made, shop for sweet gifts in futuristic packages and munch on creative truffles at Kollar Chocolates. The artisanal sweets are made with unique ingredients, such as red wine and fennel pollen, by chocolatier and local culinary star Chris Kollar. While at the marketplace, be sure to check out Sisters — a family-owned boutique with a nice selection of evening gowns, casual rompers and floral clutches. Sisters also offers a full menu of salon services, in case you care for a blow-dry with your new blouse.
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